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Animal Dander and asthma/allergies

I just rescued a cat who happened to wander on my yard today with his bones and ribs showing. Being the kind harded person, i took him in for the night so he is safe. But after hours of playing with him, my allergies and asthma are terrible. Anyone else ever experience this?

ETA photo in body of post – CRR 09-30-2016

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  • Kathy P

    You are so sweet to bring him in.I'm terribly allergic to cats. My bro's cat will trigger my allergies and asthma if it's too close to me or if someone is petting her.My niece is really allergic too. She was petting her then washed her hands and fave well. Her eyes still swelled and she had to take lots of Benadryl.But with an outside cat, there could also be other allergens on the fur – pollen, mold. I know cats aren't keen on being washed though!

  • Emilee R Ashline

    It was kind of a weird meeting. Today marks one week since my cat died and he just showed up. But he let me put flea and tick medicine on him and hold him. He is such a sweet boy. I used some ipratropium bromide nasal spray and that dried up the runny nose

  • K8sMom2002

    Awwww …  to anyone who rescues a skin and bones kitty. I've had it happen where I lose a pet, and it's like an sends me another to comfort me. 

    I agree that other people's pets tend to really make our allergies worse — my DD spent several nights this week at a friend's house while working on a project, and her allergies really kicked up a notch, even though we do have pets here. I think it's a combo of different pet dander and other allergens they pick up. We have indoor kitties and outdoor kitties, and DD reacts more to our outdoor kitties if they should come in.

    I'm not sure if your rescue kitty would allow you to do this, but IF you can give him a bath, it might help. If you can't, perhaps you could wipe him down with a damp wash cloth or some of those pet-grooming wipes. 

    We have strict controls over pets in her bedroom — no animals in her bedroom AT all, and her bedroom door remains shut during the day. Also, she washes her hands thoroughly after petting our fur babies. 

  • Jen

    Following this thread, as dd2 has big time cat allergies.  Her eyes swell and get red and she starts coughing and sneezing.  Some good ideas here. 

    Will be putting these ideas in my back pocket for when and if we get a service dog for my ds.  dd1 is allergic to dogs for sure.

  • K8sMom2002

    @Emilee R Ashline just checking in on you and your kitty — I do hope everything is going okay! 

  • Emilee R Ashline

    @K8SMOM2002….thanks for checking. I am doing more than okay. This kitty is getting healthier. I feel in love with him the moment he walked onto my yard

  • K8sMom2002

    Oh, From one kitty lover to another, I am SO glad that he's getting healthier AND that your allergies and asthma are allowing you to take care of him.

    There are folks who simply cannot tolerate fur-babies or even the dander on other people's clothes, and health has to come first. But yay for you and your kitty — what have you named him? Are you keeping him inside or out? 

  • Emilee R Ashline

    My allergies are okay. I have a nasal spray that I can take three times a day plus my zyrtec. I named him midnight he is inside for the time being because he is so malnourished but I walk around with him outside so he don't hurt himself

  • K8sMom2002

    Glad the meds are working! And awwww … I think that's a purrrfect name for him.

    I would definitely wipe him down with a damp washcloth or a pet grooming wipe. Here's a link to the Humane Society's tips on .

    Have you had a chance to take him to a vet for a check-up? 

    And when you are getting kitty litter, try to get the kind that has the least dust. That dust really seems to get me when I change the litter box. I use the clumping kind that you don't have to empty every time, and that helps me. I'll try to remember to look at the brand I use and post it here.

  • Kathy P

    Glad the meds are working. He looks like such a sweet kitty! I love the long whiskers!

  • Katie D

    I just popped over and saw that cute kitty ~ and I had to comment… those whiskers are awesome!  Hope your allergies stay under control and you can continue to give keep him and give him a new home, he is so lucky to have wandered into your backyard 

  • Shea

    Yikes, I would not live with a cat if you have allergies. Their dander us so sticky, it sticks to the lungs, and is one of the top allergens effecting asthma. It is so tempting, animals are so cute, and there are times in my life when I pushed my health aside for pets, but that blew up in my face bigtime. My brother is less allergic than me, and he lives with a cat, but he gets respiratory illnesses all the time, and has to use so much more medication. I tried the medication approach, and the medication and no cat in room approach, but living with cats especially, but also dogs, made my asthma and allergies worse worse worse, and recovering now from it is so hard because chronic exposure with reactions often leads to chronic problems. I just regret doing that to myself. Like, why would I put my health below an animals? I wouldnt put an animal around what made it sick, why would I do that to myself? I wish I could go back in time now and tell myself that, so I guess that is why I am writing it here, even though I want to tell you it will be OK, or it is no big deal… that is just not the truth of what any study I have read, or any experience I personally have had is. It is your choice, I am just putting my honest opinion and experience out there, because, for me, living with cats and dogs is the precipitating event that led to my disgnosis of a chronic allergic disease that effects my lungs, skin, blood vessels, heart, all my vital organs, and my allergic reactions and allergic asthma are in such a condition I have been stuck on prednisone for almost 5 years, and if I touch a dzyrtec I immediately break out (I used to be able to live with one on zyrtec), if I breathe in cat dander, I have severe asthma attack (I lived with one once taking Singulair). My primary doctors of the past belittled my allergies, missed key notes in my lab, and it was not until I got specialists that I was truly made aware what harm I was doing to my body all that time, and what I needed to do to get my health  back. Regardless of what you choose, please keep your doctor informed, and get a specialist. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Shea, I agree that a person's health is definitely something to take into account, and many people do have to avoid pets or even people who own pets.

    But for those who can, pets can help in other ways — they can lower stress, ease depression and give people structure they otherwise wouldn't have. Web MD talks about  

    I like your advice about seeking a doctor's advice. There are ways to mitigate pet dander in patients with MILD allergies to pets. But if you have a severe allergy, then it's best to follow your doctor's advice and not have pets.

    I've definitely learned from you how sensitive people can be to pet dander, and I have made it a point to really go over my clothes well with lint rollers before I leave the house. What other ways can pet owners help folks with severe dander allergies?

  • Gloria

    I am so thankful that cats do not count as things that set me off. I live alone; and my two kitties are my fur babies. I don't know what I would do without them.

    Elilee, your kitty is so cute. I hope it works out for you. So nice of you to rescue this little fellow.

  • Shea

    There are differences in severity, not only among individuals, but over the same person in a lifetime. I do not want anyone to feel guilty for owning a cat if noone in their home/family is allergic. If they are, I just don't want them to brush their symptoms under the table. That is really sweet of you to go over clothes with a lint roller K8smom, and I am sure it does help. I don't know what else to do. I know in schools and classes, backpacks and shoes I think carry the most in, and the popular such on pre-K classrooms shows the effect on people with less severe allergies than mine. I think public awareness, business and education policy, and empowerment of people with allergies and asthma is what is going to really help. In China, people take off shoes and wear special shoes when they go inside classrooms or homes (web excerpt) "Shoes, in most Chinese households, are considered filth-conduits and are best swapped for a pair of slippers at the doorway." I think a large closet outside classrooms with individual lockers, but that closes and locks using on key the teacher has (especially for younger kids who can't do lockers but are good with cubbies) for shoes and backpacks, the kids can bring in their notebooks and stuff they need into the classroom, put assignments into a teachers mailbox, but leave the main things that bring in dander. A home policy would be to not have the cats in the bedroom where you keep your clothes, purse, and where you sleep. And then, just to be aware and not try to convince people with allergies to come over, because I used to get guilted into going over, then try to hide and belittle my symptoms, and then be sad I had to leave or linger outside alone at a party… Then leave all sick for days. Just be aware, and don't push, give easy outs or have outdoor parties. I do not think pets should be allowed in public transits, restaurants, or stores for the reason of emotional comfort. It causes a lot of unseen issues to more than just me.. But definitely me, lol, not gonna lie, there is some self preservation bias, but I think it makes sense and wouldn't cause harm to the petlover, but would to the allergic asthmatic, and I do not see a way out of that. That is all I can think of for now.

  • K8sMom2002
    Shea posted:

    Just be aware, and don't push, give easy outs or have outdoor parties. 

    Shea, this is SUCH excellent advice! One thing that I have learned is that if I wear certain clothes, they are magnets for pet hair, so I'm assuming they are magnets for dander as well.

    So I've started choosing clothes that are less liable to hold onto pet dander — makes it easier for me to get rid of any pet hair, that' s for sure! Also, they tend to be tightly woven and "slick" or poly-blend, so there's less ironing to do! Winners all the way around!

    And we already ban kitties from my DD's room, and we hang purses and book bags up in closets. We also have a small dog (I know, our house sounds like a nightmare to you!), but we trained her from very early on to not come into any room that had carpet. She will stand outside my office door and whimper, but she won't come in!

    So it sounds like we are doing some things right. I really appreciate you educating me and helping me to make life easier on other folks who have severe dander allergies.

    And like Gloria said, nothing wrong with self-preservation — no apologies needed! It is the exact same thing as my DD's life-threatening allergy to corn — if people don't handle both your and her allergens correctly, the two of you could get very sick, so it's not a preference or a "want-to," but a "must."

  • Miss_305

    SO glad I found this website, and this thread! I thought I was the only one with SEVERE Asthma/Allergies to Dogs and (worse) Cats. It starts out as a runny nose/ sneezing, then about 10 minutes later (pretty quick) I get a tightness of the chest, start wheezing and either have to reach for my albuterol, or often times that doesn't help and have to be rushed to the E.R. for a breathing treatment or prednisone shot! I feel so cut off from the world lol. I mean, The bank I bank with, grocery stores other places I go to welcome service animals. That has an effect on me going into those places. I understand people need their service animals, but you have people like me who are severely allergic and cannot be around animals like that. I can't go to most friends homes because they all have pets. Most of my family have pets. It sucks to be allergic/asthmatic to pet dander. =(

  • Kathy P

    Welcome Miss_305! Sorry you need to be here, but glad you found us!That sounds like a really severe reaction that moves really quickly. That must feel isolating. Have you found places where you can go? Activities that work?

  • Emilee R Ashline

    Hey guys just wanted to let you know I had to put Midnight down. He wasn't eating or drinking and kept having accidents. It wasnt easy but I felt like it was the right choice. He isnt suffering and he got lots of.love with the short time I spent with him

  • K8sMom2002

    Oh, Emilee … that's the toughest call to make, but when it's necessary, you know it's the right one. And yes, you gave him lots of love in his time with you, and that's way more than he would have had on his own. Big, big

  • K8sMom2002

    Hi, @Miss_305 … and I definitely hear your loneliness and the frustration, especially at having to deal with that severe a reaction in must-go places like your bank and your grocery store. 

    What things have worked for you in dealing with that? What has your doctor advised?

  • Gloria

    So sorry, Emilee. At least you tried to help this little man. That is so hard and so sad.

  • Shea

    Miss 305, I am glad you found us too! It is very isolating and difficult having pet allergies, and it is one of the most difficult things I have ever faced in my life. Hopefully we can find some solutions together here, because I think solutions start in places like this, and spread to advocacy and awareness groups, and to the world, and that is going help others in the future, while at the same time, hopefully we can find something to help us now too! So far, my best solution is not going into homes or having others with pets I am allergic to into my home. I find short trips to the mall, store, well ventilated and clean stores especially, are activities I can do with pet owners. 

    K8S mom, it sounds like you are doing lots of things right. And I do believe some clothes are less likely to be magnets for dander, and I use that for prevention of skin flares, I like Rayon alot, I realized.  Clothing can help protect skin from air exposures if it is deflective. I do notice I break out on uncovered areas the most, like on my neck. 

    My parents used to have a small dog (I lived with him during childhoid with kess severe allergic rhinitis) , but when it was discovered how allergic I was after my diagnosis of Churg Strauss Syndrome, they ended up finding a home for him with another relative. It wasnt that easy… I mean, I had to have them come to my doctor with me once, and I refused to go to their house for parties, Christmas.. it was a short standstill, but when they did that…. I feel like it saved me and helped heal my heart for sure. I needed to hear from someone that my health was more important than their desire for a pet… especially after my son and I lost our home to his father who refused to find a home for his cats snd dog despite my near death/heart attack/CSS disgnosis). I was, and still am, so hurt by his decision, for both me and my son who was a few months old at the time).  I spent a long time just telling myself that my health and life were more important than a persons need for a pet–especially a family member, because before I could never even tell myself that, and I suffered in silence and fear and had low self esteem, depression, and a kinda reckless nature from that former perception that my allergies snd asthma were nothing, that I needed to just deal with it, medicate it, hide it, dont be disrespectful.  I had a lifetime of experience telling me that my health was not as important as family or friends need for a pet, and it took me nearly dying from allergic disease, to overcome that belief. I need to be here on earth aluve and well, I have a son, he needs ME, there us no substitute, and I deserve to breathe and have a safe home, just like everyone else. It is worth it to advocate for yourself, and it had helped me advocate for my son and his allergies as well. You will find some people to be supportive, and others who are not. Mostly, get yourself on your side, journal what you did if you have a flare, show your doctor, they are going to be your first support ooftentume, and sometimes you have to look and be referred to the one that is right for you. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Shea, thanks for helping me help YOU!

    People and their health are important, period. We are here for you, here to help support you.

    We should support all people in ways that help them heal and help them feel included. Life is often about compromise and seeking solutions that work for everyone, and people need to realize that a person's health is not necessarily something they have control over. 

  • Jen

    miss 305 – Welcome to AAFA.  Glad you found us. Do you work with an allergist or a pulmonologist? 

    Emilee – Sorry to hear about Midnight.  Hugs~

  • Shea

    Emilee, sorry to hear about Midnight It was sweet of you to help her through that end time). 

    My son and I fell in love with a pet today… and with our allergies we have to be careful, the only type of pet store I can even walk into is a reptile only store. We bought two Ornate Uromastx, they are a mated pair, and very awesome. Great personalities, great to handle, beautiful, and best of all, no hair, no dander, no allergies. They are vegetarians too. (Lizards)

  • GigiGibson

    Wow, my email was putting all my AAFA emails into Spam, I am still catching up. SO sorry that little guy had to be put down but he sounded like he was suffering. You did the right thing. Yall I had cats growing up, a ton of them, LOVED them. Then my hubby had the meanest cat, turned me off them for two decades. I finally decided I wanted a tabby cat last year. GOt one and then in 9 months I was diagnosed with asthma and three months later had a horrible attach. A couple months more I had to say goodbye, after losing so many abilities I had to cave to my docotors advice.  I felt better afterwards but am far from well. I do think she triggered my worsening allergies. I understand all sides here. I still have my doggies. Together they are 16 pounds of poodle and pom-a-poo love, almost 13 they are. November and December birthdays. I can't give them up, they wouldn't survive. My baby won't even go pee and poo without me, when I leave on business she doesn't eat. I have them washed weekly, wash bedding frequently, handle them as little as possible and wash my hands after. I have a big house and they are kenneled in a huge crate in the sunroom during the day so I think I am doing the best I can. 

    I feel yall, shea, I can see myself turning into you when they are gone, I have already turned down clients that have cats, I just can't go into their homes. I worry about showing houses with cats. I am just adopting the mask life. Today I wore it every time I stepped outside and I had ZERO ATTACKS. Yesterday I took my inhaler 13 times. Go figure……

  • Kathy P

    sorry you had to put him down Emillee.

    Love the lizard Shea! The colors are really cool! We had a gecko, but it had not been trained to be handled. I didn't know there were any lizards that were vegetarian – ours ate crickets.

  • Shea

    Yeah I started getting into reptiles because I did feel so isolated–not being able to go to people's houses and just getting used to my asthma and health limitations. My son was old enough, he was 3 when we found a reptile store, and we first bought a Leopard gecko, then later got another one so they could mate and not be alone. Super easy to care for, (pic attached), you can feed them crickets but I dont like crickets, I feed them tiny grubs called phoenix worms, from a little container (much easier), the Leopard geckos are very tame, are easy to handle, they have personalities, go to the bathroom in the same spot in their cage, so easy to clean. They've laid eggs, but I havent gotten them to hatch yet (I am working on perfecting a substrate for their eggs.) The new uromastyxs (from my last post)are like the next step up, more expensive, rarer, but super personalities. If they breed, their babies sell for at least $150/piece, so we can use any money from breeding to pay for them, and probably come out ahead. 

  • Miss_305

    Hi Everyone! You're all so welcoming! As far as my preventive measures go (and what Dr's advise) is to just simply stay away from pets with dander. Which is pretty HARD to do. I hate sounding like a depressed person (although, sometimes I feel like I am the only one going through this ordeal) but the holidays REALLY get to me. We have so many (well, pretty much everyone we know)  friends that have either a cat or dog. I tried to hard explaining to them that just because they put their pet in another room, that won't stop my Asthma/ Allergies from acting up. It's much more than just simply Vacuuming  and putting the pet in another room as pet dander gets deep into couches, curtains, carpet fibers etc. So Holidays for our family is just us here at the house. If people do come I do sneeze and such but it's a much milder form than being exposed to the pets living environment.

    It's super frustrating as I have spoken to numerous Dr's and specialists.  Dr's started me off on almost every prescription strength allergy medication and that still didn't help minimize the severity of my allergic reaction, that later on, developed into a asthma attack, I also spoke with a Allergy specialist that also stated that if I had weekly allergy shots (those that contained SMALL amounts of Dander to help my body learn to become immune to it by slowly increasing the dosage) that I may be one of the few people who will have a reverse reaction to it just because my reaction to pet dander is that severe. So just her telling me that makes me think there is no hope for any control over my asthmatic reaction to pet dander. Having allergies to pet dander is one thing (the uncontrollable sneezing, watery eyes etc) but the asthma reactions I get shortly after (my chest feels so tight it feels like I ran a marathon, struggling to breathe) that's a whole different level than most people get around animal dander. Even my husband sometimes doesn't understand how bad I feel. I tell him (and anyone else who kind of ignores what I go through) to imagine breathing through a straw, and climb up and down the stairs 3 or 4 times, and JUST BREATHE THROUGH THE STRAW in your mouth, YES, That's how I feel like when I can't breathe. Not fun.

    Shea, Your little lizard is super cute!! I feel so bad for my 10 year old, he wants a pet. I told him I am seriously looking into getting either fish or a lizard. At least a lizard you can hold in your hand.

     

  • Jen

    Shea – love the lizard pics!   Thanks for sharing.  I think that is a great way to enjoy having pets…without the dander.

    miss 305 – Glad to have you here – you're in the right place for support.

    Gigi – Happy to hear the masks are working for you.

  • K8sMom2002

    Miss 305, that is frustrating that your doctors can't recommend allergy shots to help you tolerate pet dander. And yes, it is so much more than vacuuming! You're not the only person in the world with this issue, that's for sure.

    Shea, those are some cute lizards! My mom, however, would have had three heart attacks — she hated "slitheries" as she called them.

    While I have a phobia of rats, lizards have never bothered me. I remember dropping off my DD at her sitter's when she was little, and the poor woman was having a panic attack — a tiny lizard had the bad luck of getting into her living room, and she was terrified. I had to get a dustpan and gently re-home the poor fellow.

    Just this weekend, my sister had almost as bad a scare over a lizard on her back porch screen — she couldn't tell whether it was inside or outside. 

    Gigi, sorry that cats give you such a fit, and I'm glad the masks are helping!

  • Jen

    We have small lizards around here — I think they're called skinks. My girls get a kick out of trying to trap them.

  • Kathy P

    Shea – we had a leopard gecko. It was "inherited" from my kids' 4th grade teacher (both kids had same teacher/different years) when she was leaving. He was cute and I actually used to like the sound of the crickets chirping on the wet bar. I also used to feed him meal worms.

    Miss_305 – it's hard when others don't understand the severity of the issue. Most people can't wrap their head around it. It can be frustrating and isolating when others don't understand why you can't do what they consider "normal" things.

    Am I reading that right that allergy shots are not an option? Why does she think you will have an adverse reaction?

  • Shea

    I get you Miss 305. I have reached the point with my dander allergies where I do not want to medicate, I do not want to try to jump through ineffective hoops, or ask others too, and I just want people to understand I am severely allergic, and avoidance is the only strategy for me right now. I remember when I first started getting allergic to peanuts, I would have such a tough time not eating favorite holiday treats. Once I even ate some knowingly and got sick after. It was not fun. A few times later down the line, I had accidental ingestions thst put me in the ER, the reactions worsened each time. Now I cant touch them, dont want them, I am averted completely.  Same thing happened to me with cats and dogs over timyi Honestly, I do not like them anymore. I am averted. I cringe when I see them lick people. It just happened to me, ya know? I got sick a certain amount of times, and severely. ….I remember liking them  but I don't now. I just want to be left alone, and stay away from them. And it is hard.

    But I am finding educating people, sticking to my guns, and finding safe places and activities is a good start, and has helped me. I have read up on avoidance as a strategy, and if people ask, I send educational materials such as:

    I let people know what we can do. I am always looking for good substitutions…. like sunbutter spread instead of peanutbutter,  and taned calm handlable lizards (i get the squeemish people, because the wild lizards in Florida are wigglybsnd bitey, I am scared of them, but there are domesticated, intelligent, docisl ones too)… instead of dogs. And maybe meetup holiday spots in a dander-free-but-still-not-my-house, location, like a room rental at a country club or resort, or at a persons house with no pets… instead of going into dander or bringing it into my home via on people.

    We all deserve health and happiness, especially over the holidays.. it is all about sharing joy and togethernesd, and it us tough to do that when you cant breathe, or have to go high on medications like prednisone.

    Just know there are others out there with severe dander allergies, and we will find ways together to work on making things easier. I know I feel less alone in it hearing from your experiences, and everyones here actually, and being accepted and understood, so thank you everyone, because that has been huge for me. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Shea, I'm glad you feel less alone … we're all in this together — maybe in different places along the way, but close enough that we can understand each other.

    And I get you on the food allergies — it is hard for folks who haven't had to manage food allergies to understand. 

  • Shea

    Thanks K8smom. I have to say, getting these lizards reminds me of what it feels to love a pet again… Maybe even more than I was ever able to in the past actually, since I do not get sick from them at all. They are actually inspiring me to eat better, because they like fresh veggies, and need a variety… Plus my appetite has been huge since I went up on the prednisone, so I have been getting into cooking healthy stuff. My son really enjoys playing with them, and taught the female how to lay cradled in his hand like a baby. So, I do empathize with people who own pets and get attached (although if one of these pets put my little one or I'd health at a risk, I would rehome them immediately.) I understand situations when pets do help people with depression, self-care, etc., but I think that can be an "at home" thing.. I would never bring our lizards to the mall, or hardware store,or restaurants, and that is my concern with animal dander. I found this info to be helpful recently in explaining an allergic reaction my son had to secondhand dander exposure (from a car that had dog dander in it):

    > Reference 1: Mayo Clinic> Cats and dogs>> Allergens from cats and dogs are found in skin cells the animals shed (dander), as well as in their saliva, urine and sweat and on their fur. Dander is a particular problem because it is very small and can remain airborne for long periods of time with the slightest bit of air circulation. It also collects easily in upholstered furniture and sticks to your clothes.>> Pet saliva can stick to carpets, bedding, furniture and clothing. Dried saliva can become airborne.>> So-called hypoallergenic cats and dogs may shed less fur than shedding types, but no breed is truly hypoallergenic.>> >>> Reference 2> "Direct or indirect contact with animal allergens frequently causes sensitisation.>  > Animal allergens are major components of house dust."> reference 2:  online source:> >> Reference 3: Web MD> Your Environment and Dog Allergies>> Most allergists agree that although medication may help, the best way to control dog allergies is to avoid contact with dogs. Here are some tips:>> Keep your distance. Don't touch, pet, or kiss a dog. As best you can, avoid going to homes with dogs. If you have to stay in a house with a dog, ask if it can be kept out of the room in which you'llsleep for a few months before your arrival.> Use your medicine. If you know that you'll be coming into contact with a dog soon, start taking your medicine a few weeks ahead of time. By taking medication preventatively, you might stop an allergic reaction before it starts.> Be wary of visitors who own dogs.Dog dander can cling to clothing and luggage. So even if your house guests leave their dogs at home, they can bring the dander with them — and that can cause you a lot of trouble.> It often takes months before the level of dander in the house drops down to a level resembling that of a house without a dog.>> >> Study A: Indirect Dander Exposure, Effects on Allergy/Asthma Symptoms

     "The results show that dog hypersensitivity is an important cause of allergic disorders in asthmatic children, and that the common presence of dog dander antigens in our environment may induce dog allergy even without direct exposure to dogs."> study A Online link:> >> study A reference source:> Vanto T, Koivikko A. Dog hypersensitivity in asthmatic children.> A clinical study with special reference to the relationship> between the exposure to dogs and the occurrence of hypersen-> sitivity symptoms. Acta Paediatr Scand 72:571-575(1983).

  • K8sMom2002

    Pets can really help us get through the rough patches in our life — and I'm glad you found pets that will not hurt you! 

    And on the fresh veggies! I should eat more! 

    Maybe you could start a thread about your healthy meals and challenge us all to eat better!